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A friendly matchup


It has been a great week for Tony Dungy. He has gotten to speak his mind on so many things that are important to him. But there is only one thing that can now make it a perfect week, and that's a victory Sunday over the Chicago Bears.

Dungy stood in front of a large room at his final press conference Friday, and repeated many of the things he has been talking about since arriving last Monday night.

He spoke about the special feeling coaching against his good friend, Lovie Smith, and how honored he is to be a part of the first Super Bowl with two African-American head coaches. He spoke of family and religion and of doing things his way, in a low-key, caring manner. The only thing in your face to come out of Tony Dungy all week long was a warm, kind smile.

But after Friday's early-morning press conference, the talking stopped. There is only one thing on his mind now, and that's leading the Colts to a Super Bowl victory. Don't be misguided by his soft-spoken demeanor. This is a man who has a passion for winning and has waited a long time to stand on the doorstep of something as significant as this.

"There can only be one winner," Dungy said. "I'm looking forward for it to be us. I'll be extremely disappointed if it's not us, but I'll also be happy for Lovie Smith if it's him, probably happier than I could be for any other coach."

Facing Lovie Smith provides a special sort of challenge. They know each other all too well. They coached together. They pray together. Their families spend time together. This isn't some manufactured angle for the sake of the game. This is all very real.

When told earlier this week that Smith compared his matchup against Dungy to two brothers playing one-on-one basketball, Dungy just about exploded with pride.

"He said that? Yeah, I guess that's true. You know when you play your brother in basketball, you always want him to do well. But you also want to win. I'm proud of what Lovie has done, and I'm proud that we are alike in so many ways."

But only one of them will leave Sunday night with a huge trophy in hand. Dungy, the mentor, can only hope it is him. In what could have been a first for the Super Bowl, Dungy and Smith posed together Friday morning with the Lombardi Trophy. Afterward, they embraced.

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